- On May 2 astronauts will travel in Space to ISS.
- It is one more step for the US to stop being dependent on Russian Soyuz for space travel to ISS.
- If the flight is successful, it will be certified for future travel.
SpaceX announced plans to send two astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) on May 27, 2020. This will be the first manned flight launched from the United States after a nearly 10-year break. “On may 27, NASA will again send American astronauts on American rockets from American soil!” – reads the tweet of Jim Bridenstine, Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Since July 2011, Russian Soyuz astronauts have been sent to the ISS which took over 10 years and over 30 missions to assemble. The construction started in 1969. However, it was a collaboration project of the five space agencies and 15 countries. The size of ISS is the size of a standard football field: a 460-ton, permanently crewed platform orbiting 250 miles above Earth. The ISS is owned by the United States, Russia, Canada, Japan and the European Partner. In the past 20 years, there were 85 flights to the International Space Station (ISS) in low Earth orbit. The ISS program is a joint project between five participating space agencies: NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, ESA, and CSA.
The first mission was a three person crew in November, 2000 staying 136 days at the ISS.
NASA has long planned to refuse assistance from Russia. Also, representatives of the space Agency previously announced plans to send the first manned mission to the ISS in May 2020. As we can see, the US did not abandon them in favor of the coronavirus pandemic. Soyuz is capable of staying within ISS up to 200 days. It is the only shuttle at this time able to transport the crews to ISS.
One shuttle is always connected to ISS in case of emergency evacuation, but usually two shuttles at a time are at ISS. Originally the cost for NASA was $55 million per seat both ways but since 2017 the cost has risen to close to $80 million per seat.
Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will go to the ISS as part of the first crew after the break. The delivery will be carried out by the Crew Dragon spacecraft, which will be sent to orbit by the Falcon 9 launch vehicle of the private company SpaceX.
The launch is scheduled from the famous site 39A of the Kennedy Space center in Florida. The famous Apollo flights started out of there as well.
Benken and Harley will spend almost 24 hours on the flight, which is three times longer than Russian crews do. The number of days they will spend on board the International space station is not yet specified, as it is not clear when the next space mission will be sent. Currently two Russian cosmonauts and one American astronaut are responsible for the Earth’s orbital outpost.
If everything goes well, the US Space Agency will certify the Crew Dragon vehicle for flights to the ISS. It is an exciting time for the US and the results will be known next month.